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What's In This Book

This material is presented in a carefully chosen sequence, much like a tutor sitting next to you guiding you along. Many authors treat this material in a “systematic” fashion, which makes sense from a writer’s perspective, but can be very confusing to new users.

Another goal is to acquaint you with the Unix way of thinking, which is different from the Windows way of thinking. Along the way, we'll go on a few side trips to help you un- derstand why certain things work the way they do and how they got that way. Linux is not just a piece of software, it's also a small part of the larger Unix culture, which has its own language and history. I might throw in a rant or two, as well.

This book is divided into four parts, each covering some aspect of the command line ex- perience:

Part 1 – Learning The Shell starts our exploration of the basic language of the command line including such things as the structure of commands, file system navigation, command line editing, and finding help and documentation for com- mands.

Part 2 – Configuration And The Environment covers editing configuration files that control the computer's operation from the command line.

Part 3 – Common Tasks And Essential Tools explores many of the ordinary tasks that are commonly performed from the command line. Unix-like operating systems, such as Linux, contain many “classic” command line programs that are used to perform powerful operations on data.

Part 4 – Writing Shell Scripts introduces shell programming, an admittedly rudimentary, but easy to learn, technique for automating many common comput- ing tasks. By learning shell programming, you will become familiar with concepts that can be applied to many other programming languages.

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